Thursday, 30 June 2011

Business giants call on government to show more green ambition

Some of the biggest names in British business will today join together to reiterate their call for the government to take more concrete action to cut carbon emissions and accelerate the development of low carbon technologies and business models.

Household names such as Shell, Tesco, EDF Energy, Lloyds Banking Group, Philips, Unilever and Kingfisher will unite to endorse a new report from the Prince of Wales's UK Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, which concludes the government must now dramatically accelerate the delivery of ambitious green policies or risk missing its environmental targets.

Ricoh uses wind and solar power to put its name in lights

Anyone driving into London on the M4 from today will gain a fresh insight into the power of advertising when they pass a giant billboard illuminated solely by energy generated by wind turbines and solar panels.

Document management and printing giant Ricoh will flick the switch on its new 36-metre-square billboard at seven o'clock this morning, unveiling the 96 solar panels and five micro wind turbines that will power the board's lighting.

The billboard will be disconnected from the grid to prove the energy used comes entirely from the onsite renewable technologies. The solar panels and turbines are expected to generate 12.6kw a day to light up the red lettering from first light or first wind until about three o'clock the following morning.

The company declined to reveal the value of the investment in the billboard, or which companies have supplied the devices, saying only that the wind turbines were supplied by a Japanese firm.

Jellyfish keep UK nuclear plant shut

An invasion of jellyfish into a cooling water pool at a Scottish nuclear power plant kept its nuclear reactors offline on Wednesday, a phenomenon which may grow more common in future, scientists said.

Two reactors at EDF Energy's Torness nuclear power plant on the Scottish east coast remained shut a day after they were manually stopped due to masses of jellyfish obstructing cooling water filters.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Centrica, which owns British Gas, has hinted again that it will raise prices for its gas and electricity customers.

In a statement to the stock market, it told investors to expect lower profits for the first half of 2011, partly due to higher wholesale costs.
However, the firm said "retail margin recovery" would boost its profits in the second half of the year.

Earlier this month Scottish Power said it would increase the cost of gas by 19% and the cost of electricity by 10%.


Britain has announced plans to build at least 8 new nuclear power plants by 2025 as part of its long-term energy policies, according to media reports.

However, nuclear power was one of the issues that divided Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed a coalition after the May 2010 general elections.

The announcement comes three months after a powerful earthquake and its following tsunami triggered a radioactive disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

The government is planning to construct the new suite of reactors to maintain electricity supplies and cut greenhouse gas emissions after closing down an old generation of power stations, British media reported.

"Around a quarter of the United Kingdom's generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade. We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy," said Energy Minister Charles Hendry. 

Ofgem Investigating The Big Six

Britain’s energy regulator, Ofgem Investigating The Big Six utilities suppliers, also known as the Big Six, under the accusation of miss leading marketing information and unfounded energy and gas prices rises. Severe retail reforms have been proposed which could oblige them to auction more than one fifth of the energy they produce.

Ofgem demands reforms to gas and electricity markets

Britain's six largest utilities face tough retail power market reforms next year which could force them to auction off more than one fifth of electricity they produce, energy regulator Ofgem said on Wednesday.

The regulator proposed in March to impose power production auctions of up to twenty percent of generation on the Big Six utilities -- Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE.L
), Centrica (CNA.L), Iberdrola's (IBE.MC) Scottish Power, RWE npower (RWEG.DE), EDF Energy (EDF.PA) and E.ON UK (EONGn.DE).

But Ofgem's three-month consultation showed some respondents, especially smaller power suppliers such as First Utility, favour full production auctions to prevent large utilities from supplying and producing power at the same time.

"Some people think the figure should be higher so we're undertaking further analysis and will come up with an impact analysis later this year. It's important to us that the volume is efficient enough to have an impact on liquidity," a spokesman for Ofgem said.

The reforms are expected to come into force next year, but exact timing depends on whether the utilities will refer proposals to the Competition Commission.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Marks & Spencer and Co-op named greenest supermarkets

Market leaders, Marks & Spencer and the Co-op have recently been announced as the greenest British supermarkets.

They were awarded this status by ?Ethical Consumer? magazine on the basis of their eco-credentials. In particular the magazine recognised Co-op?s policy on fish sources and Marks & Spencer?s policy on sourcing palm oil.

The Co-op has achieved the status of having an average of 98% use of renewable energy sources throughout its 5,500 stores nationwide.

What Google's exit means for energy management in the cloud

The results of some fairly high profile smart energy management projects (apparently successful) are due this week, but apparently Google didn’t have the patience to wait. The giant Internet services company has officially “retired” the PowerMeter service due to lack of consumer adoption.

That move — coupled with Microsoft’s decision earlier this year to shift gears on its strategy for Hohm — gets me wondering about all the other companies testing cloud-based energy management technologies — including the likes of Hewlett-Packard and IBM. My gut is that those development efforts will continue. That’s because those applications will be offered via the utility companies themselves, with which consumers already have relationships.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Ofgem may be blown away by the power of the 'Big Six' energy companies

Sympathy towards British Gas, npower, E.ON, EDF, Scottish and Southern, and Scottish Power has not been forthcoming since Ofgem found that they raise bills quicker than they lower them when wholesale gas and electricity prices change. But can the regulator force change on these powerful companies?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Severn Trent faces paying £10m customer windfall

Severn Trent Water, the first utility company in UK history to be convicted of criminal fraud, faces handing over another eight-figure sum to its 3m bill-paying customers.

Following a long campaign by Financial Mail and a lengthy Serious Fraud Office investigation, the company was fined £2m at the Old Bailey last week.
Severn Trent had already paid out £42m in 2006 to recompense customers over a massive fraud first revealed by Financial Mail.
It was fined another £35m by water industry regulator Ofwat earlier this year and now faces a demand from the watchdog to hand more money back to its customers.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Green energy deal gets around solar FiT cuts

A solar energy firm has found a way to get around the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) cuts for large solar installations by signing a deal with a Scottish cooperative that will potentially supply green energy to its 850 rural businesses.

The initial £2 million deal will see ISIS Solar provide one megawatt’s (MW) worth of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays to Borders Machinery Ring (BMR) members. Because the majority of the installations will be under 50 kilowatt (kW) in size, the deal will be unaffected by the recent FiT cuts announced by the Government on solar projects between 50 kW and 1 MW in size.

How the deal will workISIS Solar has structured the deal so that members of BMR, which represents some of Britain’s biggest landowners, will either be able to buy the solar systems outright or receive the energy free in return for providing land on which the solar arrays will be installed.

UK Water bills could increase by £4.2bn

UK Water bills could increase by £4.2 billion, the equivalent of £162 for every household in the country, following a decision to switch responsibility of sewers from individuals to water companies.

Is Anaerobic Digestion The Ideal Sustainable Technology?

Between three and five terawatt-hours of energy could be supplied by anaerobic digestion by 2020, according to the Government's new Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan.

The Plan contains guidance on the cost and benefits of AD for developers and local authorities, and tactics for training and developing markets for the biogas and fertilisers produced by the technology.

″Getting rubbish and waste rot in landfill is madness when we can use it to power our homes and cars,″ said energy secretary Greg Barker. ″We are already making it financially attractive to turn waste into electricity under the Feed-in Tariffs scheme and soon there'll be similar incentives to generate heat too.

"The Anaerobic Digestion strategy and action plan will help us unlock the potential to get more energy from waste to reduce emissions in the fight against climate change.”

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Ofgem presses on with overhaul of gas and electricity markets

Ofgem, Britain's energy regulator, is to press ahead with plans for a radical overhaul of the gas and electricity markets to encourage competition at a time of rising energy prices.

Winter of power bills discontent on the way as wholesale gas price rises 30%

Families have been warned of new energy bill hikes after watchdogs said wholesale gas prices for next winter will be 30 per cent higher.
Scottish Power recently announced a 19 per cent increase in gas tariffs and a 10 per cent jump in electricity, adding around £185 to an annual dual fuel bill.

Figures published yesterday make clear that other major players will follow suit.

We have a year to make a low-carbon future happen

We are rapidly approaching a tipping point in the energy story of this country. Eight years ago, the UK was self-sufficient in gas. Today we're importing about 50pc of our needs and that proportion will rise to 75pc by 2020.

In the power sector too, the facts of life are equally stark. All but one of the UK's existing nuclear plants are due to be shut down by 2023 and nearly one third of the UK's coal-fired plants are set to close in under five years' time.

By 2020, 30pc of the existing generation fleet will be gone.

Three forces are coming together – our growing dependence on an increasingly volatile world market; our commitment to make serious cuts in carbon emissions; and our obligation as a society to ensure that energy remains affordable. It is going to be exceedingly difficult to reconcile these three forces as we build the energy market of the future.

There is also a risk that society is not being realistic about the path ahead.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

New 'dash for gas' will cost consumers

Green Alliance said the UK's first dash for gas in the 1990s was good for the country because it brought down carbon emissions and electricity prices as power generation switched from more-polluting coal to gas.
But the UK now has a slew of new gas plants, being built or planned, and a report from the think tank warns that they could lead to the UK missing its carbon targets for the 2020s.

Fitting gas-fired power stations with unproven technology to capture and "permanently" store emissions once they have been built, to cut carbon, could increase the cost of producing electricity for firms who will pass the extra cost onto customers.

Huhne under fire for hitting out at green law 'deregulation zealots' who want to bin costly red tape

Chris Huhne is facing a backlash from Conservative MPs and businesses - after hitting out at 'deregulation zealots' who want to stem the tidal wave of costly new green laws.

In an extraordinary outburst the Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister attacked Tory colleagues as 'right-wing ideologues' for questioning the value of some environmental regulations.

In a speech to the Social Liberal Forum, the Energy Secretary said it was 'nonsense' that key green legislation, including the flagship Climate Change Act, had been included in a Government review of red tape.

Can Germany Really Turn Its Back on Nuclear Energy?

Earlier this month the conservative German government announced a complete phase-out of German Nuclear Energy by 2022.  Defying the opinion of many industry experts and energy brokers in Germany and around Europe, the German government published a controversial draft report with a possible plan to turn off all Germany Nuclear Energy reactors by 2017.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Wind-power bonds offer 7.5% return

If you are looking for a green investment with attractive returns, and are prepared to take a risk with your money, a corporate retail bond offered by a renewable energy company is promising to pay 7.5% annually for the next four years.
Wind Prospect Group, which has been operating for more than 15 years, has launched the bonds with the aim of raising £10m, which it will use to build a wind farm in Staffordshire. The minimum investment is £500.

Wind Prospect says its ReBonds are likely to appeal to investors looking for an opportunity to invest in green energy projects while supporting a UK-based, employee-owned business.

Tesco and Asda urged to sell gas and electricity

SUPERMARKET giants such as Tesco and Asda are being urged by the Government to sell cheap gas and electricity.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has called on the stores to enter the energy market to drive down bills. His plea came just days after the Mirror revealed that David Cameron was under fire for breaking an election promise to tackle soaring prices. Ministers were slammed for “sitting on their hands” after the Big Six energy firms revealed huge price increases. But Mr Huhne said: “I would welcome any move by Tesco to sell energy. It sells petrol and loft insulation, so it’s a natural step.”

Siemens bets on next big thing in solar PV

What’s the next big technology in solar energy? Siemens is banking on high concentrating photovoltaics (HCPV), which uses lenses to focus sunlight onto small, ultra-efficient solar cells.

Seeing a bright future in the alternative to conventional photovoltaics, Siemens has taken a 16-percent minority stake in the HCPV company Semprius, based in Durham, North Carolina. According to Siemens, the investment gives it “early access to a highly promising technology for CO2-free power generation from solar energy.”
Details of the investment were not disclosed.

“Participating in Semprius provides us access to trailblazing technology for clean power generation,” says Martin Schulz, vice president of photovoltaics in the renewable energy division of Siemens Energy. “We believe the prospects are bright for high concentrating photovoltaic systems that enable significantly higher efficiencies than conventional PV modules, and at the same time, offer enormous potential to achieve competitive levelized costs of electricity.”

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Nearly half UK's biggest companies failing to act on carbon emissions law

Nearly half of the UK's top companies do not have targets on greenhouse gas emissions, despite years of legislation and campaigning on the issue, a study by the Carbon Trust has found.

Forty of the FTSE 100 either lack numerical targets on carbon dioxide, or their targets are for previous years and have now expired, without being renewed. This contrasts strongly with the UK's legislation on carbon dioxide, under which the government has set some of the world's most stringent targets on emissions reductions stretching to the 2020s and beyond.

Most of the carbon reduction targets that FTSE 100 companies have set for themselves are short-term, with goals for 2011 and 2013. About one-fifth relate to goals in 2018 or later.

One of the success stories of the legislation is Kingfisher, the UK parent company of B&Q, whose chief executive Ian Cheshire said the company's early embrace of stringent carbon goals has paid dividends. "Publishing definite targets and concrete objectives has helped to raise the bar," he said. "It's gone from a generic thing that people think is vaguely good to something measurable."

ScottishPower says price hikes needed to fuel £15bn investment

ENERGY giant ScottishPower has mounted another defence of its steep price rises, saying it will have to spend £15 billion over the next nine years to help the UK government meet its "ambitious" carbon reduction targets.

The firm, which came under attack after hiking bills by as much as 19 per cent, said it would be investing heavily in a number of clean energy projects between now and 2020.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Google's Biggest Clean Energy Investment Ever Is Going To Put Solar On Your Rooftop

Google has poured hundreds of millions of bucks into clean power over the last few months. But their newest announcement isn't about utilities, it's about getting solar panels on as many houses as possible.

Controlled' power cuts likely as Sun storm threatens national grid

Officials in Britain and the United States are preparing to make controlled power cuts to their national electricity supplies in response to a warning of a possible powerful solar storm hitting the Earth. In an interview with The Independent, Thomas Bogdan, director of the US Space Weather Prediction Centre, said that controlled power "outages" will protect the National Electricity Grids against damage which could take months or even years to repair should a large solar storm collide with the Earth without any precautions being taken.
Dr Bogdan is in close discussions with scientists in the UK Met Office to set up a second space weather prediction centre in Britain to co-ordinate a global response to a threat viewed seriously by both the US and UK governments. One topic of discussion is how to protect national electricity grids from the immense power surges caused by the geomagnetic storms which happen when highly energetic solar particles collide with the Earth's magnetic field.

The most vulnerable parts of the grid are the hundreds of transformers connected to power lines many miles long that can experience sudden current surges during a geomagnetic solar storm, Dr Bogdan said. "It points to a potential scenario where large parts of either North America or northern Europe may be without power from between days or weeks, to perhaps months and, in extreme cases, there are estimates that it could last years," Dr Bogdan said.

The Golden Age of Natural Gas...

The announcement made by the IEA (International Energy Agency) gas is about to enter a “golden age” has caused a stir on the global energy market. Increasing supply from unconventional sources such as shale gas and an unexpected surge on demand are the major factors that could trigger natural gas golden age.

Drunk on Power: Scots Turn Whisky Waste Into Clean Energy

Helius Energy has announced the awarding of contracts to build a 7.2-megawatt, biomass-fueled electricity plant in Morayshire, Scotland. "The plant will condition and burn solid residues from malt whisky distilling and wood fuel," according to a press release issued earlier this year by the company.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

UK wind farms may shut when demand low: National Grid

British wind farms may be shut down about 38 days per year by 2020 to avoid power transmission overload at times of weak demand and high wind speeds, UK energy network operator National Grid said on Monday. Britain is expected to increase wind power capacity seven-fold by 2020 to 26.8 gigawatts (GW), according to National Grid data, which would put additional strain on the transmission network.

National Grid's challenge is to incorporate rapidly growing renewable energy capacity into the network from wind and solar plants, whose output is more intermittent and thus more difficult to predict than that from thermal plants.

"It will become increasingly necessary to restrict the output from wind generation onto the system to ensure sufficient thermal capacity is synchronized," National Grid said in a 2020 transmission system report published on Monday.

CBI: Carbon floor price could "push industry over the edge"

UK energy and tax policies are putting too much cost pressure on energy-intensive sectors and undermining investor confidence in these industries, CBI director-general John Cridland has warned.

Over the last 12 months the Government need to raise revenues has seen industry hit by the Carbon Reduction Commitment, Carbon Floor Price and the recent hike in oil and gas tax. Cridland told business leaders, politicians and energy suppliers at the CBI energy conference.

Brent oil prices near $119, record spread against US contract

Brent oil prices open today’s trading session back near $119 a barrel as the spread between Brent and WTI oil contracts comes back to record levels, marking up near a $21 difference in trading prices yesterday.

Latest Brent Oil Price

In London, Brent crude oil futures for July 2011 delivery was trading at $119.37 a barrel, 06.23 GMT this morning on the ICE Futures Exchange. The Brent contract closed off yesterday’s trading session flat at $118.95 while the US contract plunged over two percent.

U.K. Gas Advances as Maintenance Curbs Supply, LNG Flows Fall

U.K. natural gas rose as North Sea maintenance limited supply and flows from the nation’s liquefied natural gas terminals declined.

National Grid Plc forecast gas demand in the 24 hours through 6 a.m. tomorrow at 207 million cubic meters, 40 million less than normal for the season, according to the pipeline manager’s website. The nation’s pipelines will hold 325 million cubic meters of the fuel at that time, 15 million less than at the start of today.

UK inflation remains at 4.5pc & energy price reaction

Inflation remained at a two-and-half year high of 4.5pc in May - more than twice the Bank of England's target - as rising food prices offset a fall in travel costs. This is how economists reacted to the data.

Is Wales sitting on commercial gas reserves worth billions?

A shale gas field comparable to some of the largest in the world could be trapped beneath the coal fields of South Wales, a report has found.

An Australian exploration firm which holds several licences to exploit the gas reserves trapped in the shale rocks deep beneath the UK believes the reserves in Wales are far larger than previously thought.

Eden Energy’s studies suggest that the quantity of gas would be equivalent to the amount needed to meet the UK’s gas use for four years.

Shale gas is controversial as the method of extraction is complicated and has been accused by campaigners in the United States of polluting water supplies.

The company’s chairman Greg Soloman described the gas field under South Wales as potentially “colossal”.

The potential value, if the company’s estimate is proven to be accurate, could be as high as £70bn at current market prices.

“This has got the potential to literally transform the Welsh economy – no question at all. We’re talking about potentially huge quantities of gas,” Mr Solomon said.

IBM Launches Building IT; Cuts Energy Use ‘Up to 40%’

IBM today launched its Intelligent Building Management software, which the IT company estimates can reduce maintenance costs by 10 to 30 percent, and cut energy usage by up to 40 percent.

The company has also announced that the platform, which it beta-released earlier this year, is already in use at Tulane University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and IBM’s own campus in Rochester, Minn.

IBM says that the software offers a comprehensive view of energy and facility operations with real-time energy management and performance optimization through end-to-end visibility.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Power play over the 'energy crunch'

It's get-tough time. John Swinney, Scotland's economy secretary, is out to kick some bahookey when he next meets Scottish Power executives.

Following their sharp increases in energy prices, he says they need to explain themselves.

Chris Huhne, the UK's energy secretary, is telling that company's customers to shop around for better value. He doesn't seem to have noticed that industry experts, and inexperts besides, all expect other energy suppliers to follow Scottish Power's unpopular lead.

But could it be this has a lot to do with choices the politicians have been making, or failing to make?

UK GAS: Prompt gains slightly on short system, curve moves up

UK gas prices rose slightly on the prompt Monday, with the network looking short of gas, although with no great concern in the market.

Overall the prompt remains stuck in its range of recent weeks, just under 60 pence/therm.

On the forward curve the seasons were also showing gains Monday from last week's closing levels.

At around midday UK time Monday the UK within-day was at 59.55 pence/therm and the day-ahead at 59.50 p/th, compared with a day-ahead closing level last Friday slightly lower at 59.10 p/th.

National Grid, the UK gas system operator, showed supply for the day forecast at 194 million cubic meters, making the network 16 million cu m short against expected demand of 210 million cu m.

Recent cooler, gloomier weather in the UK had helped push heating demand up a bit, said one trader, but the weather would be moving more back to normal by Tuesday/Wednesday, possibly taking away that extra heating load.

Across all parts of the demand mix, the total demand is in any case relatively low, below National Grid's estimate for the seasonal norm, which would be 248 million cu m. Total demand includes not just heating, but industry, power stations

Wholesale British gas prices rose again on Monday

Wholesale British gas prices rose again on Monday as supplies tightened with a drop in flows from liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and firm oil prices supported curve contracts.

The winter 2011/12 gas rose nearly half a penny to a two-month high of 73.25 pence per therm at around 1130 GMT, while prices for July rose by a similar amount to 58.70 pence.

Prompt prices also fell as flows from all of Britain’s big LNG terminals into the network fell sharply on Monday morning, pushing within-day prices up to a high of 59.75 pence while gas for delivery on Tuesday rose to 59.65 pence.

ISO launches ISO 50001 energy management standard

With energy one of the most critical challenges facing the international community, the publication on 15 June of the ISO International Standard ISO 50001 on energy management systems is an eagerly awaited event because it is estimated the standard could have a positive impact on some 60 % of the world’s energy use.

ISO 50001 will provide public and private sector organizations with management strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve energy performance.

Energy Minister Huhne advises consumers to switch utility suppliers

Consumers should switch energy companies if their utility company raises prices, according to Energy Secretary Chris Huhne.

Speaking to The Observer newspaper, Mr Huhne said consumers “can hit them back where it hurts” if the supplier they are with raises prices.

Scottish Power this week announced that it will increase electricity prices from the 1st August by ten per cent and gas prices by almost twenty per cent, taking the average dual fuel bill to more than £1,200 and prompting industry experts to advise consumers to fix their energy price deals before the best fixed rate tariffs are pulled.

Statoil signs 10-yr gas supply deal with SSE

Statoil said it had agreed to provide gas for 10 years to Scottish and Southern Energy's Peterhead gas power plant in Scotland.

Deliveries are due to start in the final quarter of 2012, with an annual volume of 0.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas, Statoil said on Tuesday.

The Peterhead power station in Scotland's Aberdeenshire consumes 1.5 billion cubic metres of gas in a typical year, producing enough electricity for 2 million households.

Centrica boss warns of price hikes

The chairman of British Gas owner Centrica has warned households to brace themselves for further steep increases in gas and electricity bills, it has been reported.

Sir Roger Carr told The Sunday Telegraph that the wholesale cost of power has risen by more than 20% in recent weeks, making price hikes across the industry inevitable.

Last week Scottish Power, which serves 2.4 million households, announced that gas and electricity prices would rise by 19% and 10% respectively, adding £173 to the average annual dual fuel bill from August 1.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Toyota to reduce emissions by installing large solar array Read more:

Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK has been given permission to build a large-scale solar panel array at its plant in Derbyshire.
Approval from the local planning authority makes Toyota the first UK car manufacturer to install an array on such a scale.
According to Toyota, work has started on installing the ground-mounted system at Toyota’s vehicle plant in Derbyshire, where Auris hybrid, Auris and Avensis cars are built for the UK and export markets. 

UK Gas prices still show upward trend

Wholesale British gas and power prices rose again on Friday as low flows from Norway intensified Britain's reliance on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and high coal and oil costs added upward pressure on forward prices.

UK Utilities and Government Brainstorming Smart Meter Deployment

It was a meeting of the top energy minds when the UK’s largest utilities—British Gas, EDF, ESB, and RWE nPower—met with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to discuss the implementation of new smart meter deployment plans.

Anthony Pohl, the director of the annual Smart Metering UK & Ireland conference, says the confab was crucial for the successful roll out of 53 million smart meters being installed in 30 million homes and businesses across the country. The smart meters in the home will enable energy users and suppliers to have more control over usage and reduce waste.

Zoe McCleod, the energy expert for Consumer Focus, says smart meters can bring big benefits for the public if done correctly but the devices also pose potential big risks if done wrong. She believes the challenge was for industry to work with government and consumer groups to put the right protections in place and ensure that smart meters deliver for consumers.

Can Shale Gas Save the UK Energy Industry?

Despite what many people think shale gas was discovered nearly 200 hundreds year ago but it was overshadowed by much larger volumes from conventional gas fields and cheaper extraction costs. Thanks to technological advancements shale gas extraction has become a viable option for many countries around the globe, including the UK.

In the US alone the production tripled since 2006 and accounts for 20% of all natural gas produced in the country with predictions of achieving 40% in the near future. With a steady projected growth of 4% per year for the next 20 years, shale gas will be a game changer of the US energy industry.

Here in the UK opinions about shale gas diverge, while the environmentally friendly crew advocate that the extraction process could pollute underground water aquifers. Recent studies conducted by the Energy Select Committee suggest that these risks are non-existent.

Is The Future Of Nuclear Power In Mini Reactors?

Almost 60 years ago, engineers in Idaho switched on the world's first nuclear power plant. It was only able to illuminate four light bulbs. The reactor vessel in Idaho stood about eight feet high, and eventually it made enough electricity to power a building.

A nuclear plant today can produce 10,000 times as much electricity. But for the last 20 years, new nuclear plants have been too expensive to build. Now engineers are trying to revive the industry by thinking small again.

They're designing what they call "modular" or "mini" reactors. Instead of occupying a city block of buildings, the smallest could fit in a two-car garage. And it won't break the bank.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

UK supermarket Morrisons to make £1 million in energy savings with EDF

UK supermarket chain Morrisons has signed a deal with supplier EDF Energy to guarantee energy savings of £1 million a year for the next three years.
The customer-supplier agreement brings together energy procurement and energy services and provides an incentive for EDF Energy to help the retailer make energy savings over the £1 million annual target.

“Guaranteeing the first £1 million of Morrisons’ energy savings underlines our confidence in delivering energy management projects that make a real difference to our customer’s bottom line,” says Sid Cox, director of EDF Energy’s business to business division.

EDF will work with the supermarket’s property department on energy saving projects that aim to save at least £3.5 million during 2011 alone.

MOD turns to SMEs to cut energy and carbon emissions

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is asking small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with innovative ideas to help it reduce energy and carbon emissions across its entire estate.

The MOD currently spends around £1 million a day on energy and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which now manages the MOD estate, is putting in place a new energy management arrangement in order to make MOD buildings more energy efficient. It wants SMEs to bid for work as part of a target to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 across Government.

"The MOD has done well against its energy targets, exceeding its original targets by 50 per cent, but the Prime Minister has set out a strong pledge that this will be the greenest Government ever, so this is not the time to rest on our laurels," said David Olney, DIO deputy chief executive.

UK running out of oil and gas, WikiLeaks reveals

The United Kingdom could be forced to rely on overseas countries for more than two thirds of its oil and gas supplies due to a "severe" decline in energy production in the North Sea, US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks have revealed.

Cables seen by The Scotsman reveal that Britain''s gas and oil reserves are declining by eight per cent a year, and that the country will import 60 to 80 per cent of its oil and gas supply within less than ten years.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Families Face £200 Hike As Energy Prices Rise

Families Face £200 Hike As Energy Prices Rise

story picture
Tadhg Enright, business reporter

Energy bills could rise by almost £200 per household this year if all six big suppliers follow the lead set by Scottish Power.

Read on Sky News

Ofgem shines spotlight on energy brokers

As part of its Retail Market Review, Ofgem has criticized the terms on which energy is supplied to the business sector. Potential reforms may include a ban on rollover contracts and making contract information much more transparent for business customers. While critics argue that this will erode the profits of utilities and energy brokers, it is likely to be beneficial for businesses.

Industry backs gas as 'vital' to UK energy future

MPs heard today how gas remained the main driver for the future of the UK's energy supply.

According to the Energy Networks Association (ENA) the UK needs a flexible energy mix and incentives for investment are 'essential' to meet future energy demands.

But, in the meantime gas will have to remain the power source of choice, despite a lack of investment in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), according to the ENA.

The plea came as the ENA gave evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee inquiry 'The UKs Energy Supply: security or independence?'

The Independence of Natural Gas

Natural gas demand is on the increase globally due to a series of factors. According to the IEA (International Energy Agency) the fossil fuel is about to enter a golden age on the back of predictions that it will make up to a quarter of the world’s energy supply by 2035 as well as a “quick fix” for climate change.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Energy Bills Set To Greatly Increase In UK

Energy Bills Set To Greatly Increase In UK

story picture
Tadhg Enright, Sky News business reporter

Households will have to deal with even bigger increases in energy bills this year if all six big suppliers follow the lead set by Scottish Power.

Read on Sky News

Scottish Power Gas Bills Up 19%

Scottish Power Gas Bills Up 19%

story picture

Energy companies will plunge half a million households into fuel poverty if they follow Scottish Power's decision to dramatically hike gas and electricity bills.

Read on Sky News

Siemens sues Samsung and LG over LED lighting patents

German industrial giant Siemens has filed suit against both South Korea’s LG and Samsung in Germany and the United States, alleging the companies are infringing on Siemens LED patents in both back-lit flat-panel LCD displays and in LED lighting. Similar suits are expected to be filed in China and Japan this week.

Monday, 6 June 2011

UK must ramp up renewables to stay competitive

The UK needs to up its game if it wants to be considered a serious contender in the renewables market, a leading energy-from-waste firm has warned.

Covanta Energy believes Britain may lose its competitive edge if it doesn't address some of the key barriers to renewables investment such as ambivalence among policy-makers and the cumbersome planning process.

The UK has a target of 30% of electricity to be produced from renewable sources by 2020, but currently only 6.6% of electricity is generated in this way.

Israel unveils first commercial solar power plant

Arava Power's 4.95 megawatt solar power plant at Kibbutz Keturah is the first of about 50 photovoltaic power fields to be built throughout the southern Negev desert by the end of 2014.

Israel's Arava Power unveiled the country's first commercial solar power plant on Sunday, showing it off to government ministers and dignitaries, and announced plans to erect dozens of other solar array fields, whose total cost could reach $2 billion. The announcement was appropriately made on UN World Environment Day.

The NIS 100 million ($30 million), 4.95 megawatt plant in the agricultural community of Kibbutz Keturah, currently the largest of its kind in Israel, is due to be hooked up to the national grid in the next few weeks. It is the first of about 50 photovoltaic power fields that Arava said it will build throughout the southern Negev desert by the end of 2014.

Energy Market Report June 2011

Our monthly analysis of the UK gas and power markets is now available on line for the month of June 2011. The service is intended to keep you up to date with all the major news in Europe’s gas and power markets. It is also designed to keep power executives focused on market activity in an easy to digest format.

Trains Are To Go Solar - But Not In Britain

Trains Are To Go Solar - But Not In Britain

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Tom Parmenter, Sky correspondent

European solar energy experts have branded the UK's decision to cut financial incentives as "short-sighted".

Read on Sky News

Friday, 3 June 2011

Germany's costly decision to give up nuclear power

Germany’s stunning decision this week to switch off nuclear power by 2022 may prevent a political meltdown for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her party. But for Germans, who live in Europe’s largest economy, it will likely generate costs – economic, environmental, and even geopolitical.

Pure and simple, politics drove Chancellor Merkel to this unwise policy reversal. She has ardently supported nuclear power, which generates 23 percent of Germany’s electricity. Earlier, she had decided to extend the life of Germany’s atomic plants until 2036, more than a decade longer than a scheduled phaseout agreed to in the previous center-left government.

But when Japan’s earthquake and tsunami caused a partial meltdown of nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March, that also triggered earth-moving protests against nuclear power in Germany. In local elections, the issue caused Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrat party to lose political control of a state that it had historically dominated. Her nuclear “nein, danke” now opens the way to a possible coalition with the popular Green party after the next national election.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Why the Cloud needs to be green

In a few days, Apple is set to announce its new iCloud service, which is likely to explain the 500,000 square foot data center it has been building in Maiden, North Carolina. But still now, many are asking what the cloud is, and why it matters. Keep reading to find out why the cloud and modern data centers need to be green, and the impact energy efficient technology will have on our future.

Centrica suspends South Morecambe gas field

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has mothballed its South Morecambe gas field, following through on a threat made last month in response to increased taxes.

The firm said the government's decision to raise offshore drilling taxes had made the field uneconomical.
However, it added the site would be brought back into operation once the wholesale gas price reached a level where it became economical again.

No jobs would be lost, Centrica said.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Ruukki has Developed a Fully-Integrated Solar Panel Facade

Ruukki is the first company to have developed a photovoltaic system that has been fully integrated into a facade to convert sun rays into energy. The solar power system does not depend on the sun's warmth, only its radiation. The electricity generated is used either to meet the building's own needs or is fed into the electricity grid.

Small earthquake in Blackpool, major shock for UK's energy policy

Controversial shale gas drilling halted pending investigation into possible connection with tremors

The controversial new drilling operation for natural shale gas in Lancashire has been suspended following a second earthquake in the area that may have been triggered by the process. The earthquake last Friday near Blackpool occurred at the same time that the energy company Cuadrilla Resources was injecting fluids under high pressure deep underground to deliberately blast apart the gas-bearing rock – a process known as "fracking", brought to Britain from the US, where it has been highly contentious.

UK Shale Gas Extraction

UK Shale Gas Extraction to receive the go-ahead

The extraction of shale gas in the UK is still a subject of debate but a recent report by the Energy Select Committee concluded that there are no risks of “fracking” contaminating underground water aquifers and commercial drilling may commence in the near future.